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Long overdue updates…

19 Feb

If anyone is actually following this blog, my apologies for slacking off in 2014. I blame work and wedding planning for my absence. Good news is, while posting was at a minimum/nonexistent, activities and picture taking was not! I will be updating the blog with plenty of pictures and more specific project posts asap.

Until then, here’s an update based on my last post in Dec of 2013.

Brakes – Front discs, rear drums, dual MC, new lines.
DONE. What a pain in the ass. If you’re debating it, just buy a kit that includes 100% of everything and save yourself the hassle. All the details down to finding the right banjo bolts for the front lines were a complete and major Charlie Foxtrot. I jacked up the bleeder threads on one of the calipers, spent a bunch of time messing around with cheap defective residual valves (finally sprung for the Wilwood valves), and the CPP/POL Corvette type MC that I powder coated did not fit with the Saginaw 4spd transmission…the lines ran right into the shifter levers and linkage. I must have spent a solid month looking into several other MCs including a Dodge D/W100 series truck MC which is the correct bore and has a plastic removable (relocatable) reservoir on a very narrow aluminum body. Would have worked perfectly but I wanted it to look somewhat original and the plastic bits just wouldn’t cut it. Eventually I settled on an early ’60s Mustang dual reservoir MC. Cast iron painted black and mounted perfectly on the CPP/POL bracket. It’s still close but it fits with 90∘ bends immediately off the fluid outputs. Overall, other than a little flexing in the MC bracket I’m pretty happy with the manual disc setup. I’ll get to the details in another post but everything works well and the truck stops as it should.

Transmission – Swap the original 3spd for a rebuilt Saginaw with a Patrick’s torque tube adapter.
DONE. The four speed Saginaw with the Patrick’s torque tube adapter kicks ass. I hate to lose the charm of the column shift but drivability is greatly improved. However, as much as I’d love to rig up the 4spd on the column and add a 3.55 rear gear set…I just cant. After driving two hours out to my wife’s family farm on a highway with a 70mph limit I now know I need an overdrive transmission and I already have a rebuilt T5 with a manual speedometer cable out of an S10 that is slated for the task sitting in my basement. That said, I’ll be on the Sag for another year or two.
Also, turns out that grinding noise I was experiencing back in late 2013 was a U joint coming apart in the ball housing. Fixed it when I swapped in the Saginaw.

Transmission – attempt to rig up the column shifter as a 4OTT with reverse on a cable.
ABANDONED…but not forgotten. This would be so cool if someone could figure out how to do it and maybe even add a two speed axle or some sort of OD.

Heat – Install restored fresh air heater.
POSTPONED. I’m lazy and also ran into some front suspension/alignment issues at the end of the 2014 season so the truck has been off the road since mid fall. More about that in another post.

Lube – Oil/filter and chassis.
DONE. Usual maintenance. No real story to tell.

Paint? – Perhaps a rattle can prime and satin job this spring.
Uh, no.. WTF was I thinking when I posted that. I’m rollin’ full ’54 car caps on wide whites with all the chrome I can pile on. She stays as is until I can get the body taken care of and afford a decent paint job.


That’s about it for 2014. Now with spring around the corner, the wedding in the past and finally getting settled back in with my new position/location at work, I should be ready to get back to ol’ Bessie once the weather warms up a bit.


Oh yeah. I also bought a ’54 261 from the legendary Paul Kruse of Poverty Flats. …what a road trip that was!


Drive, drive, drive…

5 Jun

Nothing to add to the blog, just been puttin’ in some time behind the wheel.

…actually, that’s not true about nothing to add.
I changed the oil and filter and managed not to seat the canister gasket correctly. About 3mi later pressure was at ZERO and I had lost about 3-3.5qts. Rolled into a service station and filled her up with the thickest stuff I could find and she’s been running better pressure than ever. ~14lbs at idle and 15 under load. Still have to get the good stuff back in. Mmm… ZDDP.

Left a nice 4″ wide trail all the way from my house (made a three point turn in my neighbor’s driveway) to the main road about 2.5mi away.

Here’s a picture from the first Chuck-a-Burger Cruise Night this season.


Once a workin’ girl, always a workin’ girl.

2 May

No matter how much a hotrod she becomes, she’ll never not be a pickup truck.



29 Oct

Set out on a 200mi back road adventure to pick up a Mazada rotary and transmission for a buddy. IT WAS AWESOME! The 216 w/ 3OTT, 4.11 and 16×7.50 tires did just fine at 55-60mph on some of the larger rural roads. Though the day wasn’t with out issue… on our way out of the neighborhood the brake pedal hit the floor. Gave the system a once over and found no signs of leakage so we made our way over to the local parts store to top off and bleed them in the parking lot. Things looked good so we headed out towards Troy, MO via 100, old 100, T, TT and 47 through Washington. Eventually we passed through Labide, where we found this ol’ girl.
Couldn’t resist snapping a couple pics.



We finally made it into Troy a couple hours after leaving St. Louis. Mazada’s Wankel motors are light so we simply heaved it onto the makeshift plywood bed along side the transmission, strapped them both in place and made our way home.


As we were passing through west Alton I noticed a vibration while decelerating in third. I later found the transmission mount (a chunk of tractor tire installed by someone long before me) had slipped out of place. We made it home safely and I ordered a new mount that night.

Towed again.

30 Aug

On Tuesday I pulled Bessie out of the garage and replaced the fuel filter, which was full of red sand, blew out the lines and decided not to replace the pump until I dealt with the rust in the tank. Worst case, I clog another cheap filter. In lieu, I opened up the old fuel pump and cleaned it out best I could without completely disassembling it. Flow looked good everywhere so I put it back together.

Two days later I went for a drive…


Got a little further than a mile from the house this time. As I was nearing the top of a long hill and downshifting into second she started bucking and sputtering. Dead. Luckily there was an open used car lot to my left and no oncoming traffic so I was able to coast in and park it next to a vintage Ford firetruck. The owners were good people, said I could leave it there as long as I needed. Even luckilyer, a good friend of mine who also happens to be the dispatcher for my towing company of choice was sitting in a window seat at Steak n’ Shake directly across the street. He called it in as soon as he saw me put the hood up. It gets better. He said the driver exclaimed, “I know the truck and where it’s going, just tell me where it’s at!” when the on duty dispatcher said “Green, white and rust 1951 Chevy picku…”


Plug for Bolin towing – – every driver (I think I know most of them at this point) has been awesome.

…make that three tows.

31 Jul


Tow number three in less than a week.

Seems like fuel. Pump diaphragm or carburetor float. …vapor lock maybe? …we’ll see.

Fun stuff! (Pt. Six)

29 Jul

With the ol’ girl up and running sooner than I thought and the rest of the day now free, I finally got around to painting and installing a visor I picked up about a year ago. Not sure what brand it is but it’s a clamp-on type and adjustable in width. …I like it better than the typical Fulton visors you see everywhere.

As purchased.

After paint.
Top side is shot in Satin White then weathered to match the top with fine grit paper, gravel, and dirt, and the under side is Moss Green. All hardware is replaced with stainless.






Installed the new stainless emblem too!

Got it on just in time to hit the Saturday night Chuck-A-Burger cruise! Pulled in with the paint on the underside still tacky.



Keep is earned.

15 May

After a long day of hauling heavy furniture and boxes across the greater St.L area, I began hearing an electrical pop every time we’d hit a bump. There’s a short grounding out in the cab somewhere. Headlights went out just as I pulled down my street. Looks like I’ll be replacing the harness asap.

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(Pardon the hubcaps. I finally got a fourth beater but I took em all off at the warehouse just to see what it looked like for a day or two.)

I wasn’t all bummed. A block or two back at a traffic light just before the headlights cut out, some guy pulled up, shot a couple compliments my way and asked if I was interested in selling. That’s happened twice since we buffed the rust out.

Down again.

12 Dec

Bessie died on me about a mile from home yesterday and the girl I recently started seeing met me where I was stranded with a cup of coffee. While I waited for a tow I started to trouble shoot out loud and she surprised the hell outta me by rattling off a few very realistic possibilities. …could this be heaven?

She’ll turn over no problem and backfire occasionally (Bessie, not the GF ;) ) but I just can’t get her running. The starter rolls it with out the coil wire just the same so my guess is spark … the back fire says its intermittent. I have new coil and plug wires I’m gonna throw on tonight. Might need to find a new ignition coil though…

Workin’ girl.

2 Nov

Doin’ what she was built for even in retirement.

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